What is Lunesta Poisoning?
Over half of the human population suffers from insomnia which causes Lunesta to be a common household medication. In people, Lunesta is an oral medication that reduces anxiety and causes sedation allowing the recipient to sleep better but in animals, sometimes it affects the dog the same way but it often has the opposite effect in others. If you observed your pet ingesting it, you can induce vomiting to avoid it being absorbed into the bloodstream. If you are unsure when the medication was consumed, call your veterinarian.
Lunesta, formally known as ‘Estorra’, and also known as Eszopiclone, is a sedative, or a sleeping pill, many people take to help treat insomnia. It is not to be administered to dogs so if you believe your pet has ingested some, contact your veterinarian immediately.
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Symptoms of Lunesta Poisoning in Dogs
As stated earlier, Lunesta can have two different types of effects on dogs. For some cases, the symptoms include:
- Severe lethargy
- Incoordination; ‘drunk’ walk
- Slowed respiratory rate
- Slowed heart rate
In other cases, symptoms include:
General symptoms include:
Lunesta is a specific trade name; Eszopiclone is the generic name it is known by everywhere no matter the trade name. Sleep aids are a popular household item these days, so while you might not specifically be taking ‘Lunesta’, look to see what your sleep aid includes. It currently only comes in a pill form, so if you drop one, pick it up immediately.
Causes of Lunesta Poisoning in Dogs
Lunesta is a non-benzodiazepine hypnotic that works by binding to the benzodiazepine receptor in the brain that induces sleep. While researchers are unsure, Lunesta is believed to affect the brain receptors that are close to the amino acid that inhibits nerve impulses in the central nervous system. This explains why some dogs become lethargic but why others become agitated as restless. If nerve impulses in the CNS are overexcited, agitation would be an expected outcome.
Diagnosis of Lunesta Poisoning in Dogs
Since the onset of the medication is quick, symptoms should manifest relatively soon after ingestion. Your veterinarian will perform a physical exam taking special note of heart rate, respiratory rate, ability to walk, coordination, temperature and change in demeanor. There are no specific diagnostic tests that can provide further information. However, your veterinarian may want to run blood work to rule out any other possible culprit and to ensure all their lab values are within normal range. A complete blood count (CBC) and blood chemistry are standard, helpful labs that will give the veterinarian a good baseline.
Be sure to bring the bottle of the ingested medication to the veterinarian with you. Even if you are not sure if, when, or how many were consumed, it will still be beneficial to the doctor when diagnosing the issue.
Treatment of Lunesta Poisoning in Dogs
Lunesta has a quick onset and a short half-life. If the dog did not ingest too much and is not showing any symptoms of toxicity, they should be just fine without additional intervention. If your dog becomes sedated or shows other mild symptoms, keeping them in a nice calm space should be enough. If your dog shows symptoms of severe agitation, other forms of a sedative may need to be given, i.e. acepromazine.
In cases of severe side effects, your veterinarian may choose to induce vomiting in your dog or anesthetize them and flush their stomach. In certain cases, activated charcoal is also administered to absorb the medication instead of it being absorbed into the blood stream; this will prevent toxicity from progressing. They may suggest you hospitalize your pet for a minimum of twelve hours for additional monitoring and while this might not seem necessary to you, it is in your pet’s best interest. If your pet happens to develop any other symptoms, your veterinarian will be able to provide supportive therapy and additional medications if needed.
Recovery of Lunesta Poisoning in Dogs
Since the onset and duration of the medication are so short, the prognosis is quite good. There are no known severe side effects of Lunesta toxicity in dogs at this time making recovery very simple. In the cases reported, all dogs made a full recovery with careful observation. Always be sure to keep all your medications out of the reach of pets. Just because there are no known serious side effects doesn’t mean they won’t develop.